Whoa. Throwback. Doesn’t even look like a caveman here.
Pau Gasol was the ‘01-‘02 Rookie of the Year, averaging 17.6 ppg and 8.9 rpg.
IMPORTANT REMINDER:The LA Lakers won the ‘08-‘09 and ‘09-‘10 NBA Championships
Lakers fans, don’t forget: your favorite team, led by Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum, won back-to-back NBA titles just two seasons ago. This will be paramount for all of us to remember over the next two weeks.
Why? Because this Oklahoma City series could get ugly.
The Thunder are younger, more athletic and have home court advantage. In a cruel (and insanely stupid) twist of fate, the older Lakers, coming off a 7-game series with the Nuggets, will actually have to play back-to-back games in this Western Conference Semifinals.
Kevin Durant won the NBA scoring title, while Russell Westbrook, who’s poised to feast on Lakers exceptionally weak PG defense, finished 5th in the league’s scoring race. Kendrick Perkins is strong enough to battle Andrew Bynum in the post, Serge Ibaka is active enough to really bother Pau Gasol, and even Thabo Sefolosha does a relatively decent job on Kobe Bryant. James Harden probably wants payback for the Artest elbow (presuming, of course, Artest doesn’t elbow him again) and Derek Fisher wants payback for the Derek Fisher trade.
Ya see, this isn’t setting up well.
On the other hand, while the Thunder live (and die) by jump shots, the Lakers have the better half-court offense (because they have the better - and only - post scorers in the series). This will be important when games slow down, as they always do in the Playoffs (especially during 4th quarters). In addition, the Lakers have more size, the Lakers might have the best guy in the league at defending Durant (Artest), and the Lakers definitely have the best guy in the league at elbowing players’ heads (Artest, again).
So, can the Lakers win this series? Yes, but I seriously, seriously doubt it. They’d have to be near perfect. If you want a positive Laker fan, who’ll tell you everything’s going to be alright, there are a lot of them out there. What I’m good at is telling the truth. The Lakers are in for a fight, and they may not have the fighters any longer.
(I’m actually better at commiserating with other angry fans - tweet me).
Here’s the formula for a Lakers series win:
- LA must steal Game 1. The Thunder could be rusty with the layoff, while LA played just two days ago. A win would force OKC to play from behind, in a must win Game 2, which could change their style.
- The Pau Gasol who showed up in Saturday’s Game 7 must show up to each and every game of the semifinals. Matter of fact, “Game 7 Pau Gasol” should just kill the regular Pau Gasol, and assume his body, forever.
- Andrew Bynum must dominate, and be the difference in at least two games. The Lakers will need their center to protect the rim from his Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle-lookalike brethren, Russell Westbrook. More importantly, the Lakers will need their center to help win the rebounding battle (without the rebounding edge, LA will surely lose). All of this seems like a long shot, given his propensity for taking plays and entire games off. We are talking about the guy who said this after a Playoff loss to Denver,
“I came out and tried to do well. Then obviously not getting the ball, it’s tough when you don’t get up shots.” - Bynum, on the Playoffs.— Got ‘Em Coach (@GotEm_Coach) May 9, 2012
- Kobe needs to perfectly dance the line between big game scorer, and team facilitator. He did a marvelous job in Game 7, but let’s face it, this guy is truly just wired to score the basketball. 22 and 7 (with 6-8 FTs per game) would be his sweet spot.
- The Laker bench needs to continue to surprise in the clutch.
If every single aforementioned thing actually happens, and the LA can avoid the injury bug/parasite David Stern unleashed on this league, I believe the Lakers can force a Game 7. And as we all know, anything can happen in a Game 7.
But if Steve Blake’s jumper runs dry, and Pau Gasol starts loafing around the perimter, and Andrew Bynum disconnects because he’s not shooting enough, and Kobe Bryant gets angry, then tries to take over games, and Ramon Sessions continues to choke, and Ron Artest kills somebody, this could all be over quickly, and my twitter feed will be chock full of swear words and venom.
If that’s the case, Lakers fans please remember, your team, with Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum, just won back-to-back championships. Remember the Ariza steals against Denver. Remember the Fisher dagger over Jameer Nelson. Remember Pau giving it to Kevin Garnett in Game 1, and remember Ron Ron giving the greatest post-game interview ever. Remember Lamar and his candy, Phil and his hat, and Andrew fighting through injury, determined to matter in a Lakers’s championship.
Who am I kidding? I’ll be so angry if they lose.
SCREW YOUR CHILDHOOD IF YOU HAVE NEVER SEEN THIS MOVIE AT LEAST 5 times
this show was the fucking shit back in the day!!!
“If the Lakers play like they played in Game 7, they can beat OKC. A lotta teams struggle early and finish strong.” —Nuggets Head Coach, George Karl
Let’s hope the Lakers do just that as they take on the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 1 of the 2nd round of the 2012 NBA Playoffs. Game 1 starts at 6:30PM PST on TNT @ Oklahoma City.
Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there. May your day be filled with good company and good vibes for all that you have sacrificed throughout your lifetime.
RELATED READING: Kobe Bryant’s drive comes from Pam Bryant, not Jelly Bean Bryant.
The Lakers v. Oklahoma City Thunder 2nd round Schedule:Game 1 – Mon, May 14 Lakers at Oklahoma City 6:30PM PST TNT
Game 2 – Wed, May 16 Lakers at Oklahoma City 6:30PM PST TNT
Game 3 – Fri, May 18 Oklahoma City at Lakers 7:30PM PST ESPN
Game 4 – Sat, May 19 Oklahoma City at Lakers 7:30PM PST TNT
Game 5* Mon, May 21 Lakers at Oklahoma City TBD PST TNT
Game 6* Wed, May 23 Oklahoma City at Lakers TBD PST ESPN
Game 7* Sun, May 27 Lakers at Oklahoma City TBD PST TNT
* – if necessary